Can one of these run linux?
Some older models can. Your best resource for running Linux on a Surface device is https://www.reddit.com/r/SurfaceLinux/
The WSL works well enough for me and because of that I never considered installing Linux on it. In my opinion there are other machines that will get you a much better experience running Linux than these ones. The value of the Surface form-factor is how it can go from a laptop kind of machine with keyboard and landscape screen, into a drawing machine with pen, and into a tablet in portrait screen. This versatility requires an OS and apps that can accommodate these various paradigms and I don’t think there is any desktop environment for Linux that provides these type of usage. From what I’ve read, the touch screen basically becomes a mouse. Screen rotation sort of works but some apps don’t respond well to it. Keyboard hot plug is not fail proof and depending on the kernel it simply doesn’t work. Also, I don’t believe the built-in LTE is supported but I haven’t checked these in ages. If I was to run Linux I’d get either a thinkpad or a system76 machine and probably be happier than running it on a Surface. But that is just my opinion.
+1 to WSL on Surface devices. I’ve been using a Surface Book as my primary personal laptop for a few years, and it pretty much exists to run Xming (an X11 server for Windows), urxvt, Chrome, and a handful of PC games. It helps that I do all my development with terminal-based tools like Neovim, rather than trying to mix Linux tooling in the WSL environment with native Windows stuff; when I’ve tried to do that it’s generally worked but felt clunky (and apparently there are some issues with having WSL write to the Windows-managed portion of the filesystem and vice versa, although I’ve never personally run into problems).
Feels like having a very, very lightweight VM running Ubuntu… And apparently that’s what WSL2 actually is.
Surface Pro X will be able to run linux on arm in WSL 2. I’m not sure otherwise…
That was my first question too. The author is using the WSL layer, which I guess could work well enough, but I’d still miss i3/tiling window managers.
I had a 2nd generation Surface Pro dual booting Windows/Linux way back in the day. But I never really liked the experience of it not really being usable on my lap like a laptop with it’s weird keyboard and ended up selling it on one of my own nomadic adventures
FWIW you could run a full-screen X desktop on your Windows desktop using Xming/X410/etc. with i3 running under WSL. Getting multiple desktops and keybindings to play nice might take some fiddling, and I have no idea how those X servers would perform under x86 emulation, but all the pieces are there.